October 10, 2011

Game 2 Pre-Game Notes

Well that’s it, folks. After one loss in the American League Championship Series and a season-ending injury to Magglio Ordonez* it appears most observers (except Danny Knolber, bless him) are writing off the Tigers. So be it.

With Max Scherzer on the mound today and a more-than-capable lineup facing Derek Hollanda batting order that now, stunningly, includes Delmon Young — the Tigers can easily even this series heading home.

If you’re going to be at Comerica Park tomorrow for Game 3 you have this to look forward to: Joel Zumaya delivering the ball to mound and Darrell Evans throwing out the first pitch. Aretha Franklin will sing the national anthem.

The Rangers bullpen on Saturday night certainly lived up to its press clippings, but how about the job Ryan Perry did? If he can duplicate that effort in this series and pave the way for Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde, methinks the Tigers bullpen will get some notoriety — on the positive side of the ledger — before it’s all over.

How adept are baseball scribes at predicting postseason teams? Dreadful. A reader sent this item from The New York Times’ Bats blog:

An examination of the preseason predictions from 101 baseball writers at a dozen publications and sites — ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, The Sporting News, The New York Times, Athlon, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA Today and MLB.com — reveals that no one predicted any of these teams to win the World Series this year.

Nice profile of Don Kelly today by Jerry Crasnick.

Back to Delmon for a moment. My initial reaction is that this is a miracle recovery and with each swing we all will be wincing along with Young. My hope is that he’s back for good and powers this offense ahead of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. My fear is that one check-swing and his season will be over.

In case you were wondering, Scherzer has started two games during his career at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He’s 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA (12 IP/8 ER). This year he was 1-0, 4.76 ERA with 12 strikeouts in three starts. Lifetime, he’s 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts against the Rangers.

Happy 36th Birthday to someone who would look nice in the Tigers lineup this year, Placido Polanco.

More on Max: He’s allowed 2.6 walks per nine innings during the 2011 season, the lowest such ratio of his major league career.

On this date in Tigers postseason history:

  • In 1945: The Tigers scored five runs in the first inning of Game 7 of the World Series, and routed the Cubs, 9-3, behind Hal Newhouser, who struck out 10 to win the World Series.
  • In 1968: Mickey Lolich wins the World Series for the Tigers by defeating Bob Gibson and the Cardinals, 4-1 in Game 7. It’s Lolich’s third win and comes after the Tigers had lost three of the first four games.

How have the Tigers fared against the Rangers’ Holland? Wilson Betemit .167; Cabrera .000; Brandon Inge .000; Austin Jackson.000; Martinez .333; Peralta .000; Raburn .000; Santiago .000, Young .500 (It’s worth noting that most of these guys only faced him once or twice.)

Finally, Happy 57th Birthday to David Lee Roth.

*How unreal is it that he took batting practice and batted three times on Saturday with a broken ankle?

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